A Vow to Keep Breathing

Victoria Meléndez
1 min readAug 12, 2019


I think it was empathy we were afraid of —

When we took our vows.

Vows of celibacy, abstinence

Refusing to be a part of a world we could not escape,

Terrified of getting close enough to cling to something real.

We were afraid of failing.

And of knowing what it meant to fail.

We called ourselves brave

For ousting ourselves from a world that would have held us close,

But really we were terrified.

It’s been years since I started breaking all of my promises,

And no matter how much chaos I create,

I can’t get the other shoe to drop —

Some sign that all those years of holding my breath through tunnels

Was enough to make a wish come true,

When all that time I could have been breathing.

But what do I do with these lungs —

That feel malformed from so many years of halted breath?

How do I keep the regret out for long enough to keep breathing?

Keep breathing?

Keep breathing.

Were we afraid to be touched?




And have it known that we are good?



Victoria Meléndez

Spirituality | Racial Justice | Friendship